My wife is very jealous and always thinks the worst about me. She threw a photo album of my baby pictures into the trash, along with my clothes. She is very strong-willed and has been unfaithful to me, but I stay with her anyway…. I have forgiven her for everything, but she doesn’t let me have friends, especially women because she believes that I cheat on her all the time with women and that every woman who comes close to me wants to have an affair with me. She has tried to put out my eyes, and she even threatens that if we ever get separated she will never let me be happy with anyone else.

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for being determined to be faithful to your marriage vows in spite of the fact that your wife acts as if she were a small child who is not mature enough to control her impulses. She acts out her anger and jealousy by destroying things or by trying to physically assault you, without any apparent thought of the consequences. Her infidelity and violent behavior are very serious matters.

Ironically, your wife probably feels powerless, so she tries to prove that she has power by destroying things that you care about. She may feel alone and that you are all that she has, so she has to fight to keep you. Or she may feel that she has to take dramatic action to get what she wants. There are many reasons behind your wife’s actions, but there is no way for us to know what those reasons are.

We also don’t know your wife’s side of the story. You say that she has been unfaithful, but have you always kept your marriage vows? You describe her violent actions, but what would she say that you have done? We will assume that you have been faithful and that you do not abuse her in any way or demean her with your words. We will also assume that you do not destroy her belongings.

Throwing away your childhood photo album is an action that was certainly intended to hurt you and get your attention. However, we wonder if she threw it away where it could not be recovered or if she put it into a trash container where you could easily get it back. Although it may seem insignificant, the place where she threw away your photo album can tell us something about her state of mind. If she put it where you could recover it, then it was just a way to get your attention, and she likely understands that actions have consequences. However, if she threw it away where it could never be recovered, then she needs professional mental health services. There is actually a mental disorder characterized by the lack of ability to control impulses and understand consequences.

Either way, we strongly suggest that you find a way to get marital counseling. This problem will not disappear on its own, and it may actually get worse. Your wife’s tendency toward physical violence could put your life or health in danger. And her infidelity means that you should get checked for sexually transmitted diseases.

If you do not already have a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ, we strongly recommend that you pray in your own words today and ask Him to forgive the sins that separate you from Him. We believe that you can find hope in God and strength for your future.

We wish you the best,